On June 9, CLEVER issued a statement regarding our commitment to social change. We continue to listen to the Black influencer community so that we can learn, grow, and make our company and industry a more equitable and inclusive place. We deeply appreciate the feedback we’ve received, as well as the grace of time and patience from Black influencers as we do our work. Here is an update on the changes we have already made, and our commitments to come. 

 

Within the past month, we have:

  • Made it policy that diversity, equity, and inclusion parameters will supersede brand parameters in the influencer selection process. We are sharing this in every conversation with clients starting from the discovery process through the influencer selection process.
  • Supported our staff, including leadership, in attending various anti-racism events and workshops.
  • Devoted a portion of our all-staff Town Hall meetings to discussions around our commitments to and progress towards social justice, and made our Town Halls weekly (rather than monthly) to ensure this work stays top-of-mind.
  • Promoted Lynn Johnson, a Black woman, from Inbound Marketing Manager to Marketing and Social Impact Director. She joins our Cross-functional (Leadership) Team.
  • Hired Ashley Keeler, a Black Woman, to be our new Controller and joins our Cross-functional Team.
  • Welcomed Marie Denee, a Black woman, and one of our paid consultants, onto our Advisory Board.
  • Continued weekly meetings with paid Black consultants, like Marie, who are giving us feedback and helping to ensure we honor our commitments.
  • Had serious conversations about our pay structure and data collection protocols for influencers, knowing that we have failed in the past to select certain influencers and pay them what they are worth. We will share more about this soon.
  • Made a commitment to transparency and open lines of communication with our influencer network. We will share more about this soon.
  • Signed onto the #StopHateForProfit boycott as an official supporting company.
  • Signed onto the 600 & Rising #CommitToChange initiative and we are currently gathering hiring data to share publicly. We will share more about this soon.
  • Made donations as part of National Give OUT Day to the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, API Equality-Northern California — which supports three Black-led organizations: Solutions Not Punishments Collaborative, Spiral Collective, and Community Ready Corps — and Somos Familia.
  • Sponsored Black women to attend the Courage to Earn “Clarity Conversation: Black Women and Influencer Marketing” webinar.
  • Started a dialog with Brandi Riley and Courage to Earn about future collaboration.
  • Created a cross-functional diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) working group charged with auditing all of our systems, practices, and processes through a social equity lens, then making recommendations to align us with our commitments.
  • Made Juneteenth an official CLEVER holiday.
  • Created a Slack channel for our Black, Indigenous, and POC staff as a place to build support and community.
  • Continued listening to and learning from various Black influencer groups and individual practitioners.


Within the next three months, we will:

  • Begin the process of ensuring social impact is at the forefront of everything we do.
  • Plan and host a series of Town Hall meetings with our influencer network to begin the work of being more transparent and accountable. We will share more about this soon.
  • Take the initial steps to create an influencer education initiative to help influencers truly understand all aspects of influencer marketing, including product and program creation, proposals, pricing and margins, selection criteria, and influencer professional development.
  • Share more about our staff and our personal values so you can get to know the people behind our company.
  • Continue to educate our clients about our diversity and inclusion parameters.
  • Continue our regular meetings with paid Black consultants.
  • Finalize the DEIA working group plans.
  • Continue engaging with Black influencer groups and individual practitioners.
  • Continue the work. Continue to listen and learn. Continue to educate ourselves. Continue to try, and not be afraid of failing, because we know we will be held accountable.

 

Longer term plans:

As we have considered all the ways white supremacy, racism, and patriarchy play a role in all of our systems at CLEVER, we have come to understand that our commitments to dismantling these systems and to social impact must be a part of our company’s DNA in ways it never has been before. We realize we haven’t made all of the changes as quickly as many of us would like. Nor can we make these changes alone. We are being thoughtful, informed, and intentional as we move forward, and we appreciate your patience. 

Our longer term plans include structuring CLEVER in a way that puts our social impact mission front and center, and continuing to work with partners who can help us realize this vision. We promise to keep you informed of these changes in upcoming newsletters.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to share what we’ve been working on so far, and a glimpse of what’s to come. Your feedback — both supportive and constructive — during this time has been a gift.

 

With deep appreciation and gratitude,

Stefania, Cat, and Kristy